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How to grade your inbound marketing campaigns


Have you ever been absolutely sure of something only to find out that your were wrong, or even worse, totally missed it?Being responsible for pulling together all the moving parts of an inbound marketing campaign is one heck of a job and it's easy to leave things on the table, make wrong assumptions, or miss things that should have been obvious.

This can cost you a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of energy, which can effect the rest of your productivity.

To avoid expending all those resources for nothing in return I suggest you start to score your inbound marketing campaigns.


Scoring Inbound Marketing Campaigns

When you only track tangible metrics such as traffic, leads and customers, Revenue, etc..., that's exactly what you are doing, you're leaving a lot on the table without even knowing it.

You can go into your analytics software and pull lead numbers out pretty easily, but how do you track your inbound marketing campaign innovation, the way people feel when interacting with your content, the level of organization, or even the "smoothness" of production.

All information important for brand growth.


1. Identify what it is that you want to track and score

Download our inbound marketing campaign scorecard template and create your own.

Break your score sheet up into two sections. One section will be your campaign's target the other section will be your campaign's operation.

Campaign target:

Each campaign should have a specific focus. Identify what the objective of your campaign is. Use the SMART goal setting process to define your specific campaign target. Setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely goals ensure that you can close the loop and report ROI.

Campaign operation:

Start by describing your ideal inbound marketing campaign or campaigns in a few paragraphs. Break it out into 3 sections, production, distribution and optimization.

Include things like:

  • How the atmosphere will feel, how people collaborate, rally and hold each other accountable.
  • How will people learn and take risks. What this looks like and how does it come to life.
  • How is the amount of resources needed to complete (time, money, energy) planned and organized.
  • How can people access information for how things are done. What does the systemization and organization look and function. What software is required.
  • How do you build relationships with vendors/agencies. How can this benefit you.
  • How do you communicate with people interacting with the campaign, how do they feel, what do they say.

These are just a few examples. You will be able to get more specific as you describe your ideal inbound operation.


2. Choose grading scale

Your grading scale will provide transparency and consistency to scoring your inbound campaigns. This way everyone knows what the scale looks like and how it works and you have a structure to ensure you get data in the same format over time.

A familiar grading scale you can use to score your campaigns is the widely popular A-F grading. A equals excellent and F equals failing. I prefer to use a number scale. It makes it a little easier to analyze instead of assigning a number value to each letter to be able to extract a number score from it.

Depending on how many grade levels you want and how you plan to calculate your scores and progress over a period of time, you could either use a number scale starting with zero (I'd recommend using a scale like the Fibonacci number sequence to achieve exponentially better results closer to your ideal), or a number scale that spans zero, from (-)10 to 10.


3. Create a scoring rubric

Download our this legend template to start creating your own scoring rubric

With a clear vision of how your ideal inbound campaign will look, function and feel, develop the rest of your scoring rubric. Using your ideals as guide to work "down" from, write out a profile of what is happening at each stage moving further away from the ideal.

If you had a number scale that was (-)10 to 10 you want to define a scoring profile for every few to provide a guideline. For example, 10 would be your ideal, 5 would be a good score, zero would be a less than average, and so on.

Make sure you make each score a clear improvement to avoid any question of how the campaign is scored so there is nothing subjective about the scoring.


4. Define and Document The Workflow

Once you have all the elements ready to go, put together a workflow for a consistent use. Determine how often you want to score your campaigns. Either score your inbound campaigns on a regular schedule like once a month or at the conclusion of every campaign.

Now determine who is going to be submitting a score, how people are going to submit scores (Google form, spreadsheet, survey software etc...), how scores are presented, reviewed learned from and adopted.

Make sure you document the entire process and assign a date (once for every submission is a good rule of thumb) to review the workflow.


Final Thoughts

The insights you'll gain from grading your campaigns - a peek at the intangibles of inbound - will help you develop a more cohesive and aligned campaigns. Once you've identified what to score, decided on a grading scale and created a scoring rubric, you can design and document the workflow.

Looking at how your campaign is not only performing on a leads and customers basis but how its responding to change, responding to technology advancements, workplace changes, and how it aligns to the overall brand, mission and company objectives.

Marketing carries a lot of that weight, often being responsible for first impressions, lead generation and several other parts of the overall experience. Try scoring your next inbound marketing campaign and see for yourself just how much you will learn about your marketing operations.

If you want to share your results with me I would love to hear about your test. Either leave them in comments or email me at


Inbound Marketing Campaign Score sheet

Inbound Marketing Campaign Grading